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      Longitudinal change of COPD assessment test (CAT) in a telehealthcare cohort is associated with exacerbation risk

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          There are only scarce data regarding the evolution of the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) assessment test (CAT) over time. Our aim was to investigate the evolution of the CAT in a telehealthcare (THC) cohort and to evaluate its potential to predict exacerbations.

          Patients and methods

          The CAT was measured weekly over up to 1 year in 40 COPD patients undergoing a THC intervention. The evolution of the CAT was analyzed using linear regression. The association between this evolution and the occurrence of exacerbations was evaluated using the Andersen–Gill formulation of the Cox proportional hazards model for the analysis of recurrent time-to-event data with time-varying predictors.


          The median CAT at inclusion was 17 (interquartile range 13–22) points. During the study, 25% of patients had a significant negative slope (median −7 points per year [ppy]), 38% were stable (median +0 ppy) and 38% had a significant positive slope (median +6 ppy). The median slope of the CAT in the overall cohort was +1 (interquartile range −3 to +6) ppy. A significant positive association was found between the change in CAT scores and the risk of exacerbations (hazard ratio =1.08, 95% CI: 1.03–1.13; p<0.001). There was an 8% increase of the risk of exacerbation per unit increase in CAT. We detected a significant learning effect in filling out the CAT in 18.4% of patients with a median learning phase of five filled questionnaires.


          Sixty-three percent of the COPD patients monitored by THC experienced a stable or improved CAT during 1-year follow-up. We found a significant positive association between the evolution of the CAT over time and the risk of exacerbations. In about one-fifth of patients, there was a significant learning effect in filling out the CAT, before reliable results could be obtained. The evolution of the CAT could help to assess the risk for future exacerbations.

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          Most cited references 21

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          The COPD assessment test: a systematic review.

          The COPD assessment test (CAT) is a self-administered questionnaire that measures health-related quality of life. We aimed to systematically evaluate the literature for reliability, validity, responsiveness and minimum clinically important difference (MCID) of the CAT. Multiple databases were searched for studies analysing the psychometric properties of the CAT in adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Two reviewers independently screened, selected and extracted data, and assessed methodological quality of relevant studies using the COSMIN checklist. From 792 records identified, 36 studies were included. The number of participants ranged from 45 to 6469, mean age from 56 to 73 years, and mean forced expiratory volume in 1 s from 39% to 98% predicted. Internal consistency (reliability) was 0.85-0.98, and test-retest reliability was 0.80-0.96. Convergent and longitudinal validity using Pearson's correlation coefficient were: SGRQ-C 0.69-0.82 and 0.63, CCQ 0.68-0.78 and 0.60, and mMRC 0.29-0.61 and 0.20, respectively. Scores differed with GOLD stages, exacerbation and mMRC grades. Mean scores decreased with pulmonary rehabilitation (2.2-3 units) and increased at exacerbation onset (4.7 units). Only one study with adequate methodology reported an MCID of 2 units and 3.3-3.8 units using the anchor-based approach and distribution-based approach, respectively. Most studies had fair methodological quality. We conclude that the studies support the reliability and validity of the CAT and that the tool is responsive to interventions, although the MCID remains debatable.
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            The empirical foundations of telemedicine interventions for chronic disease management.

            The telemedicine intervention in chronic disease management promises to involve patients in their own care, provides continuous monitoring by their healthcare providers, identifies early symptoms, and responds promptly to exacerbations in their illnesses. This review set out to establish the evidence from the available literature on the impact of telemedicine for the management of three chronic diseases: congestive heart failure, stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. By design, the review focuses on a limited set of representative chronic diseases because of their current and increasing importance relative to their prevalence, associated morbidity, mortality, and cost. Furthermore, these three diseases are amenable to timely interventions and secondary prevention through telemonitoring. The preponderance of evidence from studies using rigorous research methods points to beneficial results from telemonitoring in its various manifestations, albeit with a few exceptions. Generally, the benefits include reductions in use of service: hospital admissions/re-admissions, length of hospital stay, and emergency department visits typically declined. It is important that there often were reductions in mortality. Few studies reported neutral or mixed findings.
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              A telehealth program for self-management of COPD exacerbations and promotion of an active lifestyle: a pilot randomized controlled trial

              The objective of this pilot study was to investigate the use of and satisfaction with a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) telehealth program applied in both primary and secondary care. The program consisted of four modules: 1) activity coach for ambulant activity monitoring and real-time coaching of daily activity behavior, 2) web-based exercise program for home exercising, 3) self-management of COPD exacerbations via a triage diary on the web portal, including self-treatment of exacerbations, and 4) teleconsultation. Twenty-nine COPD patients were randomly assigned to either the intervention group (telehealth program for 9 months) or the control group (usual care). Page hits on the web portal showed the use of the program, and the Client Satisfaction Questionnaire showed satisfaction with received care. The telehealth program with decision support showed good satisfaction (mean 26.4, maximum score 32). The program was accessed on 86% of the treatment days, especially the diary. Patient adherence with the exercise scheme was low (21%). Health care providers seem to play an important role in patients’ adherence to telehealth in usual care. Future research should focus on full-scale implementation in daily care and investigating technological advances, like gaming, to increase adherence.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of COPD
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                Dove Medical Press
                24 October 2017
                : 12
                : 3103-3109
                [1 ]Department of Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine, Cantonal Hospital St Gallen, St Gallen, Switzerland
                [2 ]Department of Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland
                [3 ]Division of Infectious Diseases and Hospital Epidemiology, Cantonal Hospital St Gallen, St Gallen, Switzerland
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Frank Rassouli, Klinik für Pneumologie und Schlafmedizin, Kantonsspital St Gallen, Rorschacher Strasse 95, CH-9007 St Gallen, Schweiz, Tel +41 714 946 020, Fax +41 714 946 118, Email frank.rassouli@
                © 2017 Rassouli et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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